Orin O’Brien is one of our great ladies of bass.  By being her amazing self, Orin has inspired female bassists all over the world to follow their dreams. Inez Wyrick assembled the “name of band here” and gave this heartfelt and beautiful tribute to one of our own.

“Title of piece” by Henry Purcell // Arranged by Inez Wyrick
Narration by Kristin Korb // Text by Inez Wyrick

In 1935, Hollywood actors George O’Brien and Marguerite Churchill gave birth to a lovely daughter who was destined to change our history…here in the world of double bass and more!

Her musical training began in Los Angeles.  She studied double bass with former principal of the NBC Orchestra, Milton Kestenbaurm, Fritz Reiner and Herman Reinshagen, former bassist of the New York Philharmonic.  She continued her studies in New York with Fred Zimmerman, graduating from the Julliard School of  Music.

Throughout these years, she freelanced, playing with many prestigious orchestras and under many impressive conductors.  As her reputation and accomplishments grew, she found herself committed to increased musicianship and promoting the teachings of Fred Zimmerman.

It seems unbelievable now, but until 1966, the musicians of all major orchestras were traditionally male.  In that year, Orin O’brien stepped over the gender barrier and became the first woman to join the major leagues.  She happened to be a bass player!

It’s possible that Ms. O’Brien never gave a thought about the gate she opened when she won that audition that day.

It was 1966, and from this point forward, women would be stepping up and winning more auditions.  They began taking their places side-by-side the population of male musicians.  They began changing our world of music!

Ms. O’Brien remains an active member of the New York Philharmonic to this day.  She’s additionally participated in many chamber groups, played on many recordings, taught at Manhattan School of Music, given master classes throughout the country, taught privately, and promoted teaching music and double bass education to the young.

Because of Ms. Orin O’Brien’s dream and dedication, female musicians all over the world are freely able to pursue their places in professional organizations.

We salute Orin O’Brien with our own ISB 2013 Orchestra of Lady Bassists.  Thank you Orin O’Brien!